Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rajmund (Vampires in America Book 3)- D.B. Reynolds

Back cover summary-

RAJMUND GREGOR is a vampire . . . and the undisputed Master of New York City. He bows to no one but his Sire, Krystof, who is the Vampire Lord for the entire Northeastern U.S. Based in Buffalo, NY, Krystof is an old vampire—-too old, it would seem, because he’s slowly losing his mind. Summoned back to Buffalo by his Sire, Rajmund finds his master out of touch and rapidly weakening. He knows the territory will crumble if something isn’t done, and he’s the only one of Krystof’s children strong enough to seize power. But there’s also the matter of some missing women and a rogue vampire who seems to be moving in for the kill.
SARAH STRATTON has a secret, one she’s never shared with anyone–—at least not anyone who knows her now, not even her good friend Cyn. It’s a secret that could destroy her carefully constructed life, but it’s one she may have to share with a vampire, if she’s going to save the lives of the missing women.

Review (warning spoilers)-

Hmm,  I didn't love Rajmund , the latest installment in the Vampires in America series by D. B. Reynolds, as much as Raphael and Jabril  but not because it's not good.  Probably, I am just not as impressed by the story's heroine, Sarah Stratton.  I also can't shake a nagging feeling that even Rajmund, our hero, feels the same.  I have a feeling that he is also not so convinced by her.  She seemed schizophrenic, and unstable, totally unlike Cyn who is quite confident and self assured.  I guess D. B. Reynolds succeeded greatly in differentiating the personalities of her two heroines.

Rajmund and Sarah met when Cyn and Raphael visited Sarah in New York.  They accidentally crossed paths again as Rajmund started his investigation into the disappearance of several young women in Sarah's hometown.  The story centered on two things: 1. the investigation into the disappearance of the young women and 2. on how Rajmund tries to resist Sarah.  Coming very close to being Lord of the Northeastern territories, he felt that he doesn't need more complications in his life.  Of course in the end, he solved the mystery, became the Lord  and then complicated his life with Sarah.

Unfortunately, Sarah made this story weak.  She seemed so unstable, insecure, and  senseless that I really don't see what Rajmund could love about her.  She doesn't seem to know what she was doing and why she was doing it most of the time.  Truly a damsel in a distress of her own making. He also doesn't seem convinced about her most of the time.  He thought of her as a weak link rather than as someone who can strengthen him.  In the end, he did leave her returning to her only after she somewhat forced herself to be with him.

Even if I am not very fond of Sarah, this book is not bad.  The story is quite gripping even if it's quite long, I couldn't put in down. D. B. Reynolds tells good stories. I do love Cyn and I was happy to read about her and Raphael in the beginning of the book.

Rating: ***** Recommended

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jabril (Vampires in America 2) - D.B. Reynolds

Back cover summary- 

Houston, Texas-Cowboy boots, baseball and journeys to the stars . . . right? Wrong. Because Houston is also home to Jabril Karim, one of the eight powerful Vampire Lords who control all of North America. And as Private Investigator Cynthia Leighton will soon discover, not all Vampire Lords are created equal. For Jabril is the face of evil in the new world, a vampire who values no life but his own, who enslaves those he desires, steals whatever he covets and destroys anyone who stands in his way. Running from L.A. and its seductive Vampire Lord, Raphael, Cyn sees the Houston job as a welcome refuge, a place to get away and heal her broken heart. But Texas will be no vacation. For in Jabril Karim, Cyn will confront a true enemy, one who will go to any lengths to satisfy his lusts, enrich his coffers and expand his power. Fighting for the lives of two young sisters, Cyn's journey will take her through the streets of Houston and back to L.A., where the human police are determined to bring Raphael down for the murder of one of their own. But the danger doesn't end there. For Jabril has set his sights on Cyn, and he will stop at nothing to have her.

Review (warning spoilers)-

Jabril is D.B. Reynold's second installment in her Vampires in America series.  We see the continuation of Cyn and Raphael's story with a new antagonist in the vampire Jabril.  I love this series! Too bad that it's not that famous.   Jabril is a very good follow-up to Raphael.  The story is fast, smooth and action packed.  I read it in one sitting (or lying).

Cyn goes to Houston partly to forget Raphael and mostly to work for Jabril to locate his missing ward.  Unfortunately, Jabril just intended to use her to piss off Raphael.  Cyn realized Jabril's evil plot and foiled it.  Raphael, of course, quickly comes to her rescue, not that she needed it. They kiss and make up and (hopefully) will live happily ever after.

I just have one small comment about the story.  I don't understand why the vampires had to wait for Raphael to arrive to start rescuing Cyn considering that he had to take a plane and all to get to her.  Other vampires of Raphael's were already on hand, so why wait?  I guess it's for dramatic purposes.

I already discussed Cyn and Raphael's characterizations in my review of Raphael.  In Jabril, we see an evolution as they both accept and give way so that they can be together.  I guess that was their main problem as they are both alphas. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to the next one, Rajmund. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Rating: ***** Highly recommended

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blood of the Demon- Kara Gillian Book 2 by Diana Rowland

Back cover summary-


Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.

It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.

Review (warning spoilers!!)- 

Since I really enjoyed "Mark of the Demon", I immediately started "Blood of the Demon".  The second book in this series did not disappoint but left me craving for more.  Too bad the next one will only be out in January 2011.  Kara, Rhyzkahl and Ryan are back with another urban fantasy, criminal homicide adventure. 

The story started about a month after the events of "Mark of the Demon".  Again, there were a series of murders.  Even though the murders didn't seem to be related, Kara with her othersight felt the connection with the arcane and began to investigate.  This central plot was further complicated by her relationships with Lord Rhyzkahl and Ryan.  In this book, we learned that somehow the demons know what Ryan is and have animosity for him.  Us readers will have to wait a few more books to find out what kind of creature he is.  Diana Rowland's world building is smooth and we are slowly guided through how the demon world works.  We also see Kara's abilities increase with her continuous contact with Lord Rhyzkahl.

In Diana Rowland's website she said that it will take 8-9 books to complete her story and she actually knows how it will all end.  This is very obvious in the way she develops her story and characters.  We are merely in the second book and I can already feel the build-up.  I am greatly looking forward to the next books.  Thankfully, this series are getting popular so I am sure that Diana Rowland will get a chance to write a satisfying conclusion.

Rating:  ***** Highly Recommended

Mark of the Demon- Kara Gillian Book 1 by Diana Rowland

Back cover summary - Cop and conjurer of demons, she's a woman in danger of losing control—to a power that could kill....

Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.

Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head...

Review (warning spoilers!!!) - I truly enjoyed this book!  It is a good, solid, kick-ass urban fantasy with a realistic heroine and without much tasteless sex.  There was a lot violence though and they were graphic.  This is one of those books that stays with you after you have read it.  Yes, maybe if it would be food, it would be junk food but then it fills you like a rich chocolate cake.

Kara Gillian is a homicide detective moonlighting as a demon summoner (or vice versa).  While investigating a serial killer, she noticed that the murders are connected to the arcane.  With the help of the gorgeous demon lord Rhyzkahl and and handsome FBI agent Ryan, she was able to solve the murders.

The plot is fast, well formed and plausible (as much as an urban fantasy story can be). It is a good murder mystery combined well with urban fantasy elements.  The cop murder-mystery story is solid.  The world building is smooth and doesn't make you go "huh?".  At the end of it all, I didn't feel like I was taken for a ride.

Kara Gillian is an endearing heroine.  She is a normal woman who just happens to summon demons for a past time.  She admits to being lonely, and to eating too much donuts.  She doesn't wear black leather and is not a know it all.  She is very human and I love her.

Rhyzkahl's characterization is perfect for me as well.  He is an ancient, powerful demon lord who is very true to what he is.  I get that.  It should be like that.  For instance, I find it quite unbelievable for a 200 year old vampire to be concerned about pre-marital sex.  At least, Rhyzkahl should be bad-ass and he is.

Ryan is the good boy FBI agent and he completes the love triangle.  It seems we will find out more about what he is in the next books.  My curiosity is tickled.

I can't recommend this book enough.  This is definitely one of the best urban fantasy books I have read in a while.

Rating: ***** Highly recommended